I awake amidst a grinding of gears and an enormous belching of smoke as the factory next-door springs to life. I’ve been here three days but each morning it feels almost dreamlike as if this place is not supposed to exist. It’s not, but it does. Coal burns and grinds the turbine next store sending carbon into the grey green sky. It fires kilowatts next door to my hybrid air conditioner and filter. The more coal that burns the harder the unit needs to work in a never-ending paradox that is this place.
How I came to be here, I’ve yet to discover. I keep thinking that the next morning will bring a return to normalcy and that which I’ve known but so far this is not the case. My room is a box of ten square meters, maybe, in the corner of this industrial building. There are two windows, north and west, and a mattress on the floor. There is no need for a blanket. With the air unit at full blast, the temperature rarely falls below 85. I fear I’ve lost ten or more pounds that I can scantily afford.
The factory sits outside the north window and it rarely idles. It is a grey windowless hulk in a sea of tenements flexing its superiority as an untouchable fixture of ‘the way’. I fear I’ve lost ‘the way’ for I no longer understand this superhero.
The west window faces an alley. As scary as the view to the north might be, it pales to the horror of the west. And the smell. The overwhelming ingredient is Styrofoam, piled nearly halfway to my window and mixed with the bones of dead animals and rotted vegetables. Parts of the pile could certainly be put to better use, the other seem best served in their current form. A forever tower of synthetic polystyrene that will meet this planets next master. “Hello new species of ethereal dominance, meet you to-go container.” I fear I only have days until the tower reaches my window and then what. My air machine could never defeat such a beast.
I pull my coat on determined to learn more about my new home. The coat provides innocuous warmth but soothe my minds paranoia that bugs and disease, rampant in the air and objects around me, will not be able to penetrate it’s canvas lining.
The street below me is bustling with nameless, faceless wretches hurrying to get from one nowhere to the next. Yes, this place is the ‘somewhere’ else. This is the unseen stage right in the equation of neo-classical economics. It is the wasteland for all things, human or otherwise and somehow I have found myself here.
The area I am in borders a vibrant business district but we cannot cross over. The only thing that crosses over is kilowatts and some finished goods from the factories at the very edges of the wasteland. Those are the prized jobs but it only for the quality of the air one gets to breath during their sixteen hours of toil. I like the games the children play.
Sitting on the edges of the wasteland during the morning and evening rush they try simply to be noticed. Some of the young ones are really quite talented. There’s one boy that can stand on his head for hours but few of the folks rushing to the glass towers have time to notice. He receives scant credit but its more than most. Oddly, there are few young girls. For they are not waste, they have been taken elsewhere.
In the wee hours before the morning rush, an endless seas of large trucks snakes through the wasteland. Too many stop in my alley, I will soon be swamped. I yearn to be out of here but I fear I may never leave until I discover the reason I am here.
The next morning my air machine breaks and I rush down to the street desperate to find someone to fix it. I have no money, I will have to be quite convincing with my offer of manual labor. In the doorway across from my building an old woman sits haggard and scowling at me. She is tattered and chewing on a bone of some animal. She was once a popular girl and so she left the wasteland. She came as everything does here, broken, bruised and thrown out. Sent to the ‘someplace’ that must always be here to satisfy the equation.
That the wasteland exists is shocking to most who would view it only as a scene from some futuristic Hollywood tale of grit and glory rising from the despair. Only each story told in Hollywood or elsewhere is tinged with truth as evidenced by my wasteland home.
The day’s pass by and my mind decays with the lacking function of my air machine. I was never able to find someone willing to fix it. Nobody seems to speak the same language here. It is Babel reunited. I cavort with the old women and listen to her unintelligible tales told through broken teeth. We share a full and unopened bottle of whiskey at Christmas that someone inexplicably threw out. It is Christmas after all. For a moment things are complete for an instant. But they always return to what they are by morning and I know that this is the place I have come to disappear. In this wasteland, buried between the tower and the plant.
Posted on March 16, 2013, in Modern Philosophy, Sustainability, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized and tagged Broken Economics, Future Bright, Ken Coulson, Natural Capitalism, sustainability, Sustainable Living, TrashDisposal, Wasteland. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.